Root Causes of Conflict
Today the world faces many conflicts: political, religious, economic and cultural. Too many families struggle with divorce, abandonment, abuse, poverty and neglect. As individuals, we recognize a fundamental weakness, preferring what is easy and convenient rather than what is right and just. What is the root of all these conflicts?
Geopolitics, natural resources, environmental change, the global arms trade, and other factors have fueled and prolonged conflict as well as mutual mistrust and antipathy. Such prolonged conflict poses a fundamental challenge to world stability: how can such conflicts be transformed by longer-term peacebuilding efforts?
Assessments of conflicts and social ills from spiritual or religious perspectives have not been included in the UN’s studies. UPF proposes to combine statesmanship and good governance with the wisdom of the world’s faith traditions and principles of spiritual practice.
Timor-Leste became independent in 2002 after a prolonged conflict with Indonesia and among ourselves. We opted for dialogue, tolerance and reconciliation. After a commission heard all the witnesses and possible perpetrators of violations of human rights, we made a solemn agreement that the Timorese and Indonesian people will never again be harmed.
–H.E. Kay Rala. Xanana Gusmão
Prime Minister, Timor-Leste
Most conflicts today occur within rather than between states, with people from different ethnic groups, religions, or political allegiances fighting each other. UPF invites leaders of opposing sides for dialogue in the presence of a neutral party. Grass-roots activities such as friendly football matches, cultural programs, and service projects help build understanding and respect among young people.
Freedom & Democracy
While welcome winds of democracy have been blowing across the globe, freedom should be accompanied by transparency and protective security.
Regional initiatives include both high-level consultations and grassroots programs in the Middle East, Northeast Asia, South Asia, the Balkans, and the South Caucasus.
The roadmap for peace is long and difficult. To travel it successfully, we need to talk to each other with not only a higher degree of understanding but also a higher degree of civility, politeness and willingness to listen to the other point of view and give it due consideration.
–Amb. Christopher Hill
Dean, University of Denver, Josef
Korbel School of International
We are confident that with a unified effort among faith-based organizations, families can be strengthened with a God-centered approach that reduces divorce and immorality. A new level of cooperation can be made real among the Abrahamic faiths. And, the
mounting wave of terrorism and other security challenges will be rolled back.
–Hon. Dan Burton
Former Member of Congress, USA
Global Economic Crisis
A new era of fiscal responsibility is needed to address the root causes of the world’s financial and economic crisis and address underlying ethical issues.
Regarding the environment as a gift from a divine source, people of faith see themselves as stewards of a legacy of compassion and unselfishness to pass on to generations yet to come, countering prevailing values of self-centeredness and over-indulgence.
Achieving the MDGs
A comprehensive understanding of development includes social, political, and economic components. Civil society organizations, NGOs, private sector philanthropists, voluntary associations, and faithbased organizations can be valuable partners with governments and inter-governmental organizations in advancing the Millennium Development Goals.